Sleeping in a box while housing sits empty
A resident is escorted out by San Jose police at a homeless encampment known as The Jungle, Dec. 4, 2014, in San Jose, Calif. Police and social workers cleared away one of the nation's largest homeless encampments here, a cluster of flimsy tents and plywood shelters that once housed more than 200 people in the heart of California's wealthy Silicon Valley. | Marcio Jose Sanchez / AP

Re: Demonstrators condemn displacement of Chicago homeless

Gary Mueller says:

It will come as no surprise that the plight of the homeless in Chicago mirrors that of the plight of the homeless in New York, Cleveland, Norfolk, or San Francisco.

I live in a suburb of San Jose, Calif., and rents here start at $1,675 for a 50-year-old apartment with a box air conditioner, if any at all. In order to move into this palace, a person would have to come up with almost $5,000 to cover the first month, last month, deposit, etc.

The greed of the landlords and property owners unchecked dooms to the streets families, the working poor, the ill, and all but assures no relief to those we call chronically indigent. Tent colonies established on unused land and freeway on-ramps are raided and the occupants dispersed with no thought as to where they are supposed to go.

A famous fictional character once said, “The poor you will always have with you,” but this cop-out is no longer applicable in 21st-century America, for it allows us to view the people of the street as an inevitability. In a country of such obscene wealth, holding such a point of view is tantamount to raising the price of medicine to outrageous levels for the benefit of investors.

Homelessness can be eradicated with rent control and other measures that limit the greed of the property managers and owners. The homeless share one thing in common: they are human, and no human should be allowed to sleep in a box when all around them housing sits empty.


Re: Karl Marx makes a comeback

Henry Lowendorf says:

Article is interesting, well-written, and encouraging. One line stood out though: “For the last 60 years Marx, communism, and socialism have gotten a pretty bad rap across the West.” As far as I can tell “the West” is a euphemism for imperialism and those countries that accept the leadership of the chief imperialist, the USA. The “West” includes Japan and South Korea, two eastern Asian countries that have been imperialized, that did not historically evolve from Mediterranean and Middle Eastern, i.e. Western, cultures, that basically take much of their domestic and foreign policy direction from the transnational corporations based in the U.S. and the military-industrial complex. I wonder if others find the use of this term, “the West,” bothersome, unscientific, and a convenient means to avoid talking about imperialism and its implications.


Re: 61 percent of Americans give thumbs-up to unions

Sankar Kumar Das says:

It is good that a comfortable majority of workers have their thumbs up in favor of unions, but in fact, even a further majority should have demanded it. There is no surprise that all the small or big businessmen, industrialists, and contractual companies will oppose the idea of unionized workers, but the fact stands that unless the bargaining power of the workers is increased, the poverty of lower-level workers, i.e., unskilled and uneducated (or less educated) workers will not be eliminated, and therefore the demands of the consumer goods in the market will not be generated.

The result is very obvious: the capitalist market will be squeezed, mills and factories will have to reduce production, and in the process they will disengage the laborers from work. Poverty in the society will be accelerated. The only remedy is that the bargaining capacity of workers—from the lowest level to the high-skilled—should be increased by the instrument of collective bargaining, i.e., by forming union.

To bring all the workers under the banner of the union, trade union education is necessary, which is not imparted in any regular university or college. Trade union leaders with adequate knowledge of the modern economy need to take the lead on it.


Re: 61 percent of Americans give thumbs-up to unions

Thomas Karenin says:

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” – Santayana. If American labor unions were non-existent, we would live in a much more oppressed society. I can’t really say what would happen without the invention of them because it seems like something that, just like scientific advancement, was always going to happen regardless of circumstances. The people before this invention (in the United States especially) lived under a system that did not just oppress them with minimal pay, but also justified it under the continuously popularized beliefs of Social Darwinism.

If one cannot see the importance of labor unions, one clearly falls to the prophecy of Santayana, Churchill, and so on. They are doomed to repeat history, and they will not be on the winning side when humanity looks back to the people at fault for ushering in an age of powerless workers.

60 percent of people shouldn’t be the number supporting unions. It is silly. Imagine if only 60 percent of people believed the earth was round.


Re: Tax cuts for the rich help the rich, not you

Beth Edelman says:

There’s quite a few tax reduction ideas surrounding the Trump’s effort to give the biggest companies the biggest tax relief. One of them that will make the Wall Street folks smile broadly is the effort to bring back big profits made beyond U.S. borders tax free. This proposal has attached to it the lie that this will ultimately help create investment and jobs in the U.S.


Re: A potential Irma victim’s last minute letter to People’s World readers

Betty Smith says:

A very good story. I noted that Irma’s center was sitting on the northern Cuban coast for 3-4 days, moving very slowly eastward. It must have done tremendous damage in Cuba, but not a word about that in our capitalist press. Cuban society is good at organizing to reduce human damage as much as possible, but in the path of such a large storm, there is still great damage. How is Cuba getting help? I am sure they will take whatever measures they have to, but I am thinking about their Irma crisis a lot, and hope other countries rally to help them!


PW Readers
PW Readers

Contributors to “The People Speak” round-up of discussions and debates happening on the People’s World website and on our social media networks.